Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 10 years before I was born.
As an elementary, middle and high school student, I learned about him once a year through plays, books, lectures and his ever-quoted ‘I Have a Dream’ speech delivered on August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington. However, like many of my classmates at that time, I did not truly understand Dr. King.
Something happened while I was attending Prairie View A&M University that gave me a deeper understanding of Dr. King, especially the post-‘I Have a Dream’ Dr. King. I heard someone talking about how Dr. King was more than a dreamer.
I learned more about a wide-awake Dr. King that rallied against the Vietnam War to call on America to take care of its poor at home; a Dr. King that delivered an anti-war speech titled ‘Breaking the Silence’ in 1967; a Dr. King that said, ‘I’m tired of marching for something that should have been mine at birth’; a Dr. King that was spied on and plotted against by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI COINTELPRO from 1961 to 1968; the Dr. King that was lied on by the government; the Dr. King that met one-on-one with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1966; the Dr. King that many in America did not like.
I was introduced to a different Dr. King than the one my teachers gave to me. This man wanted an end to what he called the ‘triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism.’
This disturbed me, because I wondered why we we’re not taught these things about Dr. King early on in school. Unfortunately, this cycle continues in 2011 with schools force-feeding our young people a watered-down Dr. King by omitting his post-‘I Have a Dream’ years. Are our children being robbed?
‘Celebrating’ Dr. King’s birthday has even become a lucrative business for corporations and for those today that so-call ‘praise’ him, but never would have been with him post-‘I Have a Dream.’
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